Farmers – helping wildlife, the environment, fishing and shooting
The newly announced CAP reforms have “greening” measures whereby farmers will have to manage 5% of their farm area in an “ecologically focused way”.
There has been a huge shift in the way farmers run their businesses in recent years and environmental protection is an increasingly important part of the farming operation and these greening measures will further reinforce that. Options include growing crops such as peas and beans (that don’t need nitrogenous fertilisers which use a huge amount of fossil fuel in their production), growing cover crops to protect soil from erosion, growing cover for wildlife and being able to register their hedgerows, something they have not previously been given credit for maintaining.
Getting the balance right between food production and environmental protection is critical at a time when the population of the world is expanding at the rate of 210,000 people per day. Even in the UK, the population has increased by almost 100% in the last century while wheat production has stayed the same for the last two decades. Thus it is important to keep farmers on their land focussed on food production whilst looking after the environment for the benefit of society as a whole……not an easy balance but one that the 5% “Greening” measures will help with.